Number 247 Spring 2004
A "New" Thoreau Letter from 1851
Ronald Wesley Hoag
Happily, the number of accounted for and accessible
letters written by Henry Thoreau in 1851 has
doubled. Not so happily, that' means just two letters
have now been recovered from that year. 1 While I'd like to
report that I turned up the second 1851 Thoreau letter
through dedicated research and the kind of spooky good luck
that Huck Finn might attribute to "preforeordestination" (see,
for example, Bradley P. Dean's "Thoreau Letter Discovered
in Library Book" in the last Thoreau Society Bulletin), the
present case is less dramatic though arguably not less
significant. In June of 1996 I simply purchased from a rare-
book dealer a manuscript letter from Henry Thoreau to the
Harvard University librarian, Dr. Thaddeus W. Harris. 2 (An
excellent likeness of Harris accompanied Dean's article.)
Thoreau 's message is written in black ink on a time-browned
sheet of cream-colored wove paper that is not mechanically
lined. This thin, stationery-sized sheet (19.2 x 12.2 cm) has a
jagged left margin perhaps related to its being tipped into a
copy of Odell Shepard's The Heart of Thoreau s Journals
(1927). The book is signed by its original owner — "Homer
G. Curless, Burlington, 1928" — whose many marginal
comments reflect a close and favorable reading. He,
presumably, added the letter to Shepard's volume, from
which it had been removed before my purchase.
The letter sheet was once folded in thirds, as was
Thoreau's common practice in folding letters, and then,
apparently, opened and refolded in quarters, likely by
Thoreau's bearer or Thaddeus Harris himself. With line
breaks preserved, this is the two-sentence text:
Concord Ap. 29 th 1851
I return, herewith,
Young's Chronicles of the
Pilgrims — Hawkins's
Quebec — & Silliman's
Tour of Quebec.
Will you please send
me by the bearer — the
2 nd & 3 d vols of the Forest
Trees of North America,
by F. Andrew Michaux, — of
which I have already had
the 1 st vol — also
Bigelow's Medical Botany.
Henry D. Thoreau.
Although the "Dear Sir" of the salutation is not
identified in the letter, he is clearly Thaddeus William Harris
(1795-1856), the librarian at Harvard University from 1831
till his death, including Thoreau's years as a Harvard student
from 1833 to 1837. Indeed, Harris, who graduated from
Harvard in 1815 and earned his M.D. degree, there in 1820,
taught natural history to Thoreau late in his senior year, a
one-term course that was, according to Robert Sattelmeyer,
"[Thoreau's] only formal course work bearing upon his later
avocation as a naturalist." 3 Harris also contributed the
section on "Insects Injurious to Vegetation" to the 1841 state
report reviewed by Thoreau in his 1 842 Dial essay the
"Natural History of Massachusetts."
By April of 1851 Thoreau had known Harris for more
than 1 5 years and had conferred with him on matters of
natural history and the early European presence in North
America. One such conversation, concerning books on
flowers, is mentioned by Thoreau in his journal entry for 6
February 1852, where he refers to Harris as a "learned &
accurate naturalist" and "the courteous guardian of a public
library." And on 1 January 1853 he noted in his journal the
remark, recently passed along to him, that Louis Agassiz
considered Harris "the greatest entomologist in the world"
and had given permission to quote his opinion. Thoreau
records this tribute without demurral.
Judging from the number of surviving letters, Thaddeus
Harris was in fact one of Thoreau's more frequent
correspondents, although the nature of their letter writing
was generally perfunctory and pertained to Harris's position
as "courteous guardian" of the books Thoreau wanted to
Obscure Film Recalls Thoreau
Craze of Thirty Years Ago 3
Raising Thoreau's House Beams 5
Thoreau First Day Covers 5
The Thoreau Society's John Brown Weekend 7
John Caffrey: A Brief Profile 8
Notes & Queries 9
Additions to the Thoreau Bibliography 13
Calendar of Events 15
Thoreau Society Bulletin, Number 247, Spring 2004
borrow or return. 4 The Correspondence of Henry David
Thoreau (1958), edited by Walter Harding and Carl Bode,
contains five letters from Thoreau to Harris ( 1 February
1851, 1 March 1854, 18 April 1854, 15 November 1854, 27
February 1855), and one letter from Harris to Thoreau (27
June 1854) in response to a sixth letter from Thoreau — "Your
letter of the 25 th " — that has not been recovered (329).
(Another letter by Thoreau [17 August 1857 to Marston
Watson] cites Harris's comments to him on glowworms
" 'nearly as big as your little finger' " .) To that list we
may now add Thoreau's 27 December 1850 letter to Harris,
published by Bradley P. Dean in Thoreau Society Bulletin
(No. 246, Winter 2004), and his 29
April 1851 letter transcribed above.
Interestingly, both of the recovered
1851 letters by Thoreau were
directed to Harris.
These extant or cited letters
raise the question of just how
extensive the Thoreau-Harris
correspondence was. Are these
essentially the whole iceberg or just
the tip? We know from Robert
Sattelmeyer's Thoreau's Reading
catalogue that Thoreau borrowed
many books over many years from
Harvard Library. And we know
also that Thoreau occasionally used
various neighbors and associates as
"gophers" to transact his Harvard
Library business, among them
Charles Pickering Gerrish at least
twice (March and April 1854),
[Barzillai?] Frost at least once
(February 1855), and unidentified
"bearers" on at least four other
occasions (December 1850;
February 1851; that of the subject
letter, 29 April 1851; and 27 June
1854). It's interesting to speculate
on how many other library runs were conducted by
Thoreau's agents, presumably armed with written messages
that would make the complete Thoreau-to-Harris letters even
heftier and more significant.
The present case, Thoreau's 29 April 1 85 1 letter to
Harris, is both accounted for and accountable, beyond the
unresolved identity of its "bearer." Indeed, we know pretty
well Thoreau's interest in and use of the three books returned
and the three volumes checked out by means of that letter.
Harvard Library records show, by the way, that these
transactions were accomplished on 30 April, the day
following the letter date, which also happened to be precisely
one week after Thoreau's first delivery of his "Walking"
lecture in the vestry of Concord's Unitarian Church. 5
The first returned book listed by Thoreau is Alexander
Young's Chronicles of the Pilgrim Fathers of the Colony of
Plymouth, from 1602 to 1625 (Boston: C. C. Little and J.
Brown, 1846). Although this book is not mentioned in
Sattelmeyer's catalogue, Bradley P. Dean informs me that it
was checked out to Thoreau on 27 January 1 85 1 and that
extracts from it are included in volume 4 of his unpublished
Indian Book, which Dean is now editing, and on one page of
the also unpublished Canadian Notebook. The forthcoming
Princeton Edition of Thoreau's correspondence makes this
same identification of the returned book by Young, who also
published a related book known to Thoreau, Chronicles of
the First Planters of the Colony of
Massachusetts Bay from 1623 to
1636, which is listed in Sattelmeyer.
In late September and early October
of 1850, Thoreau and Ellery
Channing had participated in a
railroad excursion to Montreal and
Quebec, an excursion that led to the
Canadian Notebook of extracts from
Thoreau's readings on Canadian
history, and eventually to his 1853
publication of "A Yankee in
Canada" in Putnam s Magazine.
Thoreau's next-mentioned book
Hawkins s Picture of Quebec; with
Historical Recollections (Quebec:
[A. Hawkins], 1834), by Alfred
Hawkins, had been checked out of
Harvard Library on 10 February
1 85 1 . 6 Information from Hawkins
is extracted in the Canadian
Notebook and included in the
"Provincetown" chapter of Cape
Cod. In another 1850 journey,
Thoreau had made a brief June visit
alone to Cape Cod, a follow-up to
his October 1 849 excursion there
with Channing. Also checked out
on 1 February was the third book now being returned by
Thoreau, Benjamin Silliman's Remarks Made on a Short
Tour between Hartford and Quebec, in the Autumn of 1819
(2d ed., New-Haven: S. Converge, 1824). Silliman is
extracted in the Canadian Notebook and quoted in "A
Yankee in Canada."
Checked out of Harvard Library on 30 April 1851 per
Thoreau's request were volumes 2 and 3 of The North
American Sylva, or a Description of the Forest Trees of the
United States, Canada, and Nova Scotia ...to which Is
Added a Description of the Most Useful of the European
Forest Trees ... Tr. From the French by F. Andrew Michaux, 3
vols. (Paris: Printed by C. D'Hautel, 1819). Bradley P. Dean
reports that Thoreau had already borrowed volume 1 of this
Thoreau Society Bulletin, Number 247, Spring 2004
work on 14 January 1 85 1 . He may have returned it on 10
February. 7 Thoreau made extensive use of Michaux's work,
quoting or referring to it in Walden; in his lecture-essays
"Walking" and "Wild Apples"; in three sections of The
Maine Woods ("Ktaadn," "The Allegash and East Branch,"
and "Appendix"); in journal entries including January 1851
(undated), 18 May 1851, 29 May 1851, and 2 January 1859;
in volumes 2 and 4 of his Indian Book; and in the second
volume of his Commonplace Book, now in the Berg
Collection at the New York Public Library. The other
Harvard Library book-secured for Thoreau by his 30 April
bearer was Jacob Bigelow's American Medical Botany,
1817-21 (Boston: Cummings and Hilliard, 1817-20).
Thoreau cited this work in journal entries dated 29 May, 3
June, 6 June, and 14 June 1851, as well as in volume 4 of his
Indian Book. Jacob Bigelow was also the author of Florida
Bostoniensis, a Collection of Plants of Boston and Its
Vicinity (1824), which Thoreau identified in his journal on 4
December 1 856 as his first botany book, acquired two
Exactly when Thoreau returned the Michaux and
Bigelow books borrowed on 30 April 1851 is not known, but
my quick page-turning of Sattelmeyer's catalogue confirms
that at least one other book, also by Michaux, was checked
out to him on 2 June 1 85 1 (see item 974 on p. 236).
Moreover, Thoreau's journal entry for 3 June reports a trip to
Boston the previous day and mentions a botanical suggestion
by Dr. Harris about Katahdin's mountain cranberries. In all
probability, some or all of the three volumes borrowed by
proxy on 30 April were returned on 2 June by Thoreau
himself, who used the occasion to pick up at least one of the
threads in his ongoing conversation with Thaddeus Harris. 8
1 . The other Thoreau-penned letter from 1851, also to
Thaddeus W. Harris, is dated 10 February. It appears on page 272
of The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, ed. Walter
Harding and Carl Bode (New York: New York UP, 1958). Asked
for his hypothesis explaining the dearth of Thoreau letters in 1851,
Robert N. Hudspeth, editor of the forthcoming Princeton Edition
of Thoreau 's correspondence (The Writings of Henry D. Thoreau),
responded, "One, he just wrote few letters; two, this is an example
of how much our record depends on chance. Bad luck for 1851?"
Hudspeth reports that the number of recovered letters received by
Thoreau that year has tripled since the 1958 publication of
Correspondence, now totaling, alas, a scant three, none of which is
related to this article. In all, 126 "new" letters by or to Thoreau
have surfaced since Harding and Bode, bringing the current grand
total of documented letters by or to him to 632, with well over 100
others believed to exist based on references in various sources. All
of these plus any subsequent discoveries will be published in the
three-volume Princeton correspondence: Volume 1, 1836-1848;
Volume 2, 1849-1856; Volume 3, 1857-1862 and undated letters.
E-mail letter from Robert Hudspeth, 6 January 2004.
2. The letter is item 126 in Catalogue Sixty-Two published by
M&S Rare Books, Inc., Providence, Rhode Island, in the spring of
1996. I thank proprietor Daniel Siegel for his help with this
3. Robert Sattelmeyer, Thoreau's Reading: A Study in
Intellectual History with Bibliographical Catalogue (Princeton,
N.J.: Princeton UP, 1988), pp. 9-10.
4. But not always perfunctory. Harris's 27 June 1854 letter to
Thoreau concerns a Cicada specimen, sent by Thoreau, that Harris
declares "new to me, as a species or as a variety." His letter ends,
"I should be very glad to get more specimens and of both sexes.
Will you try for them?" Harding and Bode, Correspondence, p.
5. For the books returned or checked out on 30 April 1 85 1 ,
see Sattelmeyer, Thoreau's Reading, pp. 133 (item 152), 196 (item
660), 236 (item 973), 269 (item 1244). For Thoreau's delivery of
"Walking, or the Wild," on 23 April 1851, see Bradley P. Dean and
Ronald Wesley Hoag, "Thoreau's Lectures before Walden: An
Annotated Calendar," Studies in the American Renaissance, 1995,
ed. Joel Myerson (Charlottesville, Va.: UP of Virginia, 1995), pp.
6. See Harding and Bode, Correspondence, p. 272.
7. See Harding and Bode, Correspondence, p. 272.
8. For an engaging overview of the relationship between
Thoreau and Harris, see J. S. Wade, "The Friendship of Two Old-
Time Naturalists," The Scientific Monthly 23 (August 1926): 152—
160. For an account of Thoreau's repeated efforts during the
1840s to secure borrowing privileges from Harvard Library, an
effort that at least indirectly invoked Harris, see Walter Harding,
The Days of Henry Thoreau (New York: Dover, 1982), pp. 266-
Obscure Film Recalls Thoreau
Craze of Thirty Years Ago
W. Barksdale Maynard
Who wouldn't like to meet Henry Thoreau, sit down
with him in conversation? In 1975, this dream
came true for four famous Americans in Talking
with Thoreau, written and directed by Richard Slote for
Encyclopedia Britannica films. Hard to find today, this 29-
minute educational movie stands as a fascinating relic of the
twentieth-century Thoreauvian heyday. Talking with
Thoreau was shot partly on location at Walden Pond and at
Roland Wells Robbins's Thoreau house replica in his
backyard in the nearby town of Lincoln. Most of the film
consists, however, of indoor conversations between Thoreau,
played by actor Barry Primus, and four illustrious visitors to
his cabin, actually a set. These visitors are not actors, but the
real conservationist David Brower, psychologist B. F.
Skinner, civil-rights activist Rosa Parks, and former United
States Attorney General Eliot Richardson, in a time-travel
scenario that is simultaneously intriguing and ludicrous.
The movie is nothing if not earnest, with close-up shots
of a meditative Thoreau alternating with sequences in which
he walks dreamily along the pondshore to the moody music
Thoreau Society Bulletin, Number 247, Spring 2004
of a flute. Those involved in the project had not always been
so highbrow; Richard Slote had help in directing the film
from Paul Asselin, associate producer of The Honeymoon
Killers (1970), a "dark humorous thriller about a fat nurse
and a Spanish gigolo who murder rich but lonely women."
Later Asselin directed The Making of Star Wars (1977).
Their choice for Thoreau, Barry Primus, has appeared in
countless movies and television shows, including such un-
Thoreauvian offerings as Cannibal Women in the Avocado
Jungle of Death ( 1 989) and The Women of Spring Break
(1995). His blow-dried coif aside, Primus made a plausible
Thoreau, though at 37 he was ten years older than his subject
was when living at Walden, and one gets no sense of the
experiment as a product, specifically, of youthful enthusiasm.
When he strolls Walden's paths, they are unmistakably the
eroded ones of the 1970s, with railroad ties stacked as
cribwork. But as we shall see, these anachronisms are
nothing beside the extreme implausabilities presented by the
device of time-travel.
Time is but the stream I go a-
fishing in. I drink at it; but
while I drink I see the sandy
bottom and detect how shallow
it is. Its thin current slides
"Where I Lived, and What I Lived For'
The first visitor to the house is David Brower, who like
later guests sits in a chair beside the window, a desk at his
side, against which the rapt Henry leans. Sad-faced Brower
somewhat recalls a small-town minister in his earnest
preachiness, which doe-eyed Thoreau absorbs with a smile.
He asks Brower, "1 wonder, could I come back to Walden
here again in your century and have the same experiences
that I have now?" Brower gloomily replies, "I'm afraid you
couldn't.... You would have overflights of jets [and] all the
extraneous noises that our sudden discovery of vast amounts
of energy have enabled us to set loose in the world."
By way of illustrating how technology has corrupted
mankind, Brower tells how he once took a commercial flight
over the North Pole and saw the aurora borealis shimmering
majestically outside the window. Wanting others to enjoy the
spectacle, "I asked the stewardess, well, shouldn't the captain
tell the people about this, on the public address system? And
she said, 'Oh no, the passengers wouldn't want the movie
interrupted.' " At this one cannot help but wonder how much
Thoreau — listening intently — would have known of jets and
in-flight movies. Ironies abound: we are being scolded for
liking to watch films even as we sit watching a film;
Thoreau, here showcased as a proponent of authenticity and
anti-technology, is in fact an actor bathed in Klieg lights; and
Brower — being paid for his time? — perches in front of a
movie-set window with a fake landscape "outside" to
espouse lofty back-to-nature doctrines.
The next guest is received coldly. "I'm B. F. Skinner,
Harvard University; I think you were there briefly. I want to
explain to you why I took the liberty of calling a book
Walden Two after your Walden One. I did it because I not
only very much admire your book, but I think the two books
are really on the same theme. I really believe we are both
interested in the possibility of redesigning a way of life. If
you don't like the life that the society hands you, go off and
try something of your own." This flattery does nothing to
soften Thoreau toward the dome-headed Skinner, whom he
eyes warily. Eventually Henry says, "Professor Skinner, you
alluded to me in one of your books ... as an outrageous
romantic, a pernicious character." (Thoreau's grasp of
literature has never seemed more impressive than in this
learned allusion to Beyond Freedom and Dignity, written 109
years after he was buried.) Skinner replies sheepishly and
with a hint of a smile, "Well, I didn't — when I wrote that— I
didn't know I was going to meet you when I wrote that, or I
should have softened it up a bit, I think."
Apparently glad to be rid of Skinner, Thoreau clutches a
red apple and listens benignantly to Rosa Parks describing
the Montgomery Bus Boycott. He remarks, "It's one of the
things we have in common — that we're both jailbirds."
Parks, prim and polite, seems to adore Thoreau: "If Dr. King
hadn't been the leader that he was, reading your writings,
our movement would not have been the success that it was,
so we owe you a great debt of gratitude, and by our protests
we hope to continue the work that you began."
Finally the chair beside the wooden table is filled
impressively by Eliot Richardson in a business suit. A puffy
scarf (green, of course) flung around his neck, Thoreau in
this scene disconcertingly resembles a Students for a
Democratic Society activist staring down a 1960s college
dean. Again unfazed by the bewildering time-travel
implications, he asks if Richardson would have arrested him
for his refusal to pay taxes. "Certainly," Richardson replies,
"And I think that you should have been subject to the
enforcement of law." At this, Thoreau furrows his brow and
gnaws a finger. A subsequent exchange meanders, at last,
into the decidedly surreal:
Thoreau: "When you were asked to fire Special
Prosecutor Archibald Cox in the Watergate case or
resign your own office as Attorney General under
Richard Nixon, did you find that decision difficult?"
Richardson: "Well, it probably wasn't really any
harder for me than it may have been for you to
decide not to pay your taxes."
Absurdities aside, Talking with Thoreau is a valuable
document of the 1970s Thoreau cult, now slipping into
distant memory. Of the four visitors, Skinner and Brower
Thoreau Society Bulletin, Number 247, Spring 2004
are no longer living. Roland Robbins's Thoreau house, so
prominently featured, is now gone — it was to be removed to
the Institute at Walden Woods about 2000 but proved too
rotten to reassemble. At 64, Barry Primus continues to
appear in television shows and movies. Among his credits,
ironically, is that he was casting director for the film that
many confuse with Thoreau's Walden, the 1981 hit On
Golden Pond. One wonders if Primus recalls his role as
Henry in an obscure film of almost 30 years ago, in an
earnest era of back-to-nature and zealous Thoreauvianism
that is gradually being borne away from us by the stream of
stream, students and staff gathered for a work bee on a brisk
November 2003 afternoon. Russell had recruited one more
member of the faculty, Science'Department Chair Michael
Dalton, who has carpentry and roofing experience, and the
frame went up.
Dalton cut a few pine trees on the school property and
had them sawn at a local mill to exact six-by-six-inch
measurements. Other logs were sawn into boards for
flooring. Russell said the structure, tarped over for winter,
will be finished this autumn. The English teacher said he
will keep track of expenses, though economy has not been a
Raising Thoreau's House Beams
Bernard A. Drew
A small Thoreau house replica has risen in the woods
behind Berkshire Hall on the campus of Berkshire
School in Sheffield, Massachusetts. Hilary Russell,
English Department Chair (atop ladder at right in the photo),
has taught an elective course on Thoreau's Walden for the
last three years, "and each year I've taken the students to the
pond [in Concord] where they step inside the replica house,"
he said. "They always impress me with how much they learn
by being in that space."
If it works there, why wouldn't it work in Sheffield?
Russell acquired a set of the Robbins plans from the Thoreau
Society Shop at Walden Pond. The preparatory school
teacher has experience in boat building, but not in larger
construction. So he and Math Department Chair Allan
Bredenfoerder attended Heartwood School in Becket,
Massachusetts, to learn the rudiments of timber- frame
building. Then Berkshire students who preferred afternoon
activity to sports went to wood shop. The teachers measured
and marked all the pieces, but the young people cut and
On a small terrace above an old woods road, shaded by
towering birch and oak, and not far from a burbling mountain
We are grateful to
Films by Huey
Princeton University Press
for supporting the Thoreau Society's
publications with its advertisements.
Those interested in supporting the Thoreau
Society's publications should contact Karen
Kashian, Business Manager, Thoreau Society,
44 Baker Farm, Lincoln, MA 01773 U.S.A.;
Thoreau First Day Covers
A First Day Cover (FDC) can be created whenever the
United States Postal Service issues a new stamp.
There are FDCs (also called cachets) for almost
every aspect of history you can imagine, and many of them
feature famous Americans, including Henry Thoreau.
The FDC is an envelope or card bearing the new stamp
postmarked with the day and place of its first issue, which
for Thoreau was Concord, Massachusetts, 12 July 1967.
This first-class 50 stamp was designed by Leonard Baskin to
celebrate Thoreau's 1 50 th birthday. FDC envelopes usually
measure 6 l A" x 378" and have art work or textual material
that complement the stamp. Commercially made FDCs are
usually postmarked in bulk elsewhere, but collectors can
send their own design to the original post office for
cancellation. (The Postal Service has a thirty-day window
Thoreau Society Bulletin, Number 247, Spring 2004
for this service.) Bob Patkin, a dealer in FDCs, told me that
there are thirty-six commercially made Thoreau cachets and
an unknown number of private ones. Most of them have art
work from the three known
Thoreau portraits, or other
appropriate scenes or
I have thirty-five FDCs
in my Thoreau collection.
Of these, twenty-three
- ■ ■ ■.- r.
D TWOfif AU
aoRN jot ■
CMCO MAY 6 186?
feature portraits of Thoreau: four based on the Rowse crayon
portrait, eight on the Maxham daguerreotype, two on the
Baskin stamp (which is
based on Maxham), seven
on the Dunshee ambrotype,
one silhouette, and one that
purports to be Thoreau but
could just as well be any
man with a beard. The
remaining twelve feature Concord scenes or Thoreau quotes
with designs of various sorts.
I also have the original artwork for the FDC designed by
Day Lowery, a pen-and-ink drawing with blue-gray wash
and white-out on a 15" x 20" piece of illustration board
(bottom one. this column). The text across the top reads
"150TH BIRTHDAY ANNIVERSARY / HENRY DAVID
THOREAU / 1817-1862 / POET-MYSTIC-NATURALIST-
HUMANITARIAN..." with a drawing of "the hut at Walden
Pond" in a circle ringed with leaves and a drawing of
"Thoreau's Home In Concord" at the bottom with some
biographical text. Lowery
happens to have been the
sole artist for Aristocrat
cachets from 1945 to 1974.
The artwork of the
Thoreau FDCs runs the
gamut from excellent to
amateurish. Probably the best FDC is also the most
common, a high-quality design featuring the Maxham
daguerreotype of Thoreau
with a drawing of the
Walden house (first one,
this column). Founding
Secretary of the Thoreau
Society, Walter Harding,
- distributed this FDC to
members of the Thoreau Society. Harding also mentioned in
Thoreau Society Bulletin number 99 that members could
obtain another FDC design from the Thoreau Lyceum, that
one also of a high quality and featuring the title-page
illustration from the first edition of Walden (second one. this
Thoreau Society Bulletin number 100 contains an
illustration of an FDC made by Henry Bugbee Kane that
built citlei in the air,
■our work need not he lost;
here they should be.
put foundation* under them.
demonstrated his dislike of the Baskin stamp. The Baskin
design for the Thoreau stamp was a controversial one.
Walter Harding liked it,
thinking that it presented
Thoreau 's strength of
character and personality;
but many others, including
Kane, disapproved of the
skewed expression. (One
Society member suggested, famously, that this was the only
stamp designed to be spit upon on both sides.) In any event,
Kane's FDC features a self-
portrait of Kane glancing
up in disapproval at the
stamp pasted in the corner
with the caption, "For my
part, I could easily do
MlNRY DAVID IHCKtAU
Some FDC artists were apparently hard pressed to come
up with unique designs, while others seem to have had little
difficulty marching to the
off-beat of a different
drummer. One odd FDC
bears on its surface a thin
aluminium plate with the
embossed image of the
Rowse portrait. Another
shows a crude drawing of Thoreau and, for some reason, the
Minot House on Virginia Road. Yet another has the Baskin
stamp mounted next to its replica — made of 22-karat gold
foil. My personal favorite
worst Thoreau FDC shows
Thoreau sitting in front of a
log cabin smoking a pipe
and feeding rabbits (to left
here)! But another comes
in a close second: a portrait
of Thoreau sporting a
forked beard next to a drawing of a three-story building on a
lake (last one, this column). Clearly, not a great deal of
research went into some of these productions.
Most Thoreau FDCs are priced in the $1 to $10 range,
while a few might be worth
as much as $25. All of the
Thoreau FDCs were issued
for Thoreau's 150 th
birthday except for one
postmarked Boston, 9
August 1978. Amusingly,
this FDC celebrated the 124 th anniversary of the publication
of Walden. Because the United States Postal Service had not
seen fit to issue a stamp commemorating Walden, this FDC .
was forced to use the old Baskin stamp — plus a regular 20
stamp to cover the increase in first-class postage since 1967.
Thoreau Society Bulletin, Number 247, Spring 2004
The Thoreau Society's John
Sandy Petrulionis and Jayne Gordon
Over the course of a chilly weekend in the middle of March
2004, sixteen members of the Thoreau Society from eight
states (Ohio, Indiana, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland,
Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts) gathered with residents
of Loudoun County, Virginia, for a weekend of "living history."
Under the leadership of Loudoun Valley High School History
teacher Rich Gillespie, and the incredibly informed and talented
aid of fifteen History Club students, we immersed ourselves in the
background and drama of John Brown, his men, and their raid on
the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, an event that began late the
night of 16 October 1 859 and ended two days later — a total failure
by most accounts, a startling and enduring success by others.
The first evening, after supper at a private home near
Purcellville, some fifty miles west of Washington, D.C., we shared
our varied reasons for trekking to Virginia for this program. Not
surprisingly, our comments spanned the gamut — from those who
sought to further their understanding of Thoreau's connection with
the zealot Brown, to those who wondered what lessons this
episode has to offer us today (see text box on this page for some
examples). Most of us came with more questions than answers,
but all of us arrived with a keen interest in learning about a
celebrated figure who has troubled people for more than a century.
Many of us, in fact, asked the same questions raised by nineteenth-
century Americans themselves in the days after the raid had failed.
Why had John Brown, a militant abolitionist fresh from the civil
strife raging in Kansas, with the aid of twenty-one men armed with
rifles, tramped into the town of Harpers Ferry, Virginia, bent on
taking over the arsenal, securing the town, and inciting slaves to
rebel and join his army — all in an effort to end slavery in the
United States? Why did he believe he could succeed? And why,
when he failed, did Henry Thoreau rally to his cause and salute the
violence of both his means and their end? These were some of the
questions we brought with us; and although these queries went
home with us as well, we at least also carried in mind a sense of
the multiple directions the answers could take.
Most historians through the years have come to regard
Brown's raid as one of the two or three instrumental events that
catapulted the United States to Civil War a year and a half later.
Branded a madman and a fanatic by southerners and northerners
alike, even by the abolitionists who supported his determination to
end slavery, Brown was nonetheless honored by former slaves
such as Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman. But one of the
first and most stridently positive tributes to Brown came just two
weeks after the raid, in the form of a public address by Henry D.
Thoreau, who spoke his mind to audiences in Concord, Boston,
and Worcester — the first public antislavery remarks he'd made in
five years. From the first evening he gave this speech, soon
published as "A Plea for Captain John Brown," his neighbors were
puzzled at Thoreau's strong endorsement of this fanatical man, his
violent methods, and his revolutionary goals. Through the years,
historians and Thoreauvians alike have continued to debate the
subject, endeavoring to come to terms with the principled
Transcendentalist's ringing endorsement of the legendary "Old
Man" of Harpers Ferry.
• "John Brown is a dichotomy: He's a noble figure to
some, and others revile him."
• "How could the man who wrote 'Civil Disobedience'
write 'A Plea for Captain John Brown'?"
• "How can John Brown's motives be supported?"
• "John Brown is one who struck for freedom. Why did
he do what he did?"
• "Is Brown a hero or this awful person?"
• "Today's problem of religious extremism and terrorism
seems connected with John Brown: How does good
come out of evil? This is controversial territory. Does
it matter what your objective is?"
• "I'm an exchange student here in Virginia from
England, and John Brown has always been just a
footnote in our history books. I want to know the full
• "I've been puzzled by and interested in John Brown for
years. He's saying something to us today, but I still
don't know what it is."
Friday evening's excursions immersed us in the antebellum
world of a slave in Virginia, with dramatic interpretations of the
dark side of plantation life by candlelight on the grounds of
Oatlands Plantation and a late-night moonlit trek on the escape
route taken by fugitive slaves through Waterford, Virginia. When
a slave catcher appeared on horseback just as we arrived at the
doorstep of a Quaker "safe house," we felt something of the fear
and anguish slaves must have experienced in similar situations. In
a sense, we became the runaways who were returned to slavery. It
was in this context that we then investigated John Brown and his
Saturday brought us to Harpers Ferry, which we explored on
foot and through historical vignettes presented by the students to
introduce the characters, conversations, viewpoints, and literal
perspectives in this town that housed the arsenal at the confluence
of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers. We became — for a
moment in time — the raiders, sitting in the same attic room where
they hid out in the privately-owned Kennedy farmhouse in
Maryland, meeting secretly to go over our parts in the "Old
Man's" plans. And then, once again, under the cover of darkness,
we were off on a mission. By the time we crept silently in the
twenty-degree darkness alongside the C & O canal bordering the
Potomac River as it runs into Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, we had
spent twenty-four hours together, twenty-one men and women
becoming familiar not only with each other, but even more with
our alter egos for the weekend — Owen, Oliver, and Watson
Brown; Charles Tidd; Edwin and Barclay Coppoc; Dauphin and
William Thompson; John Cook; Lewis Leary; William Leeman;
Stewart Taylor; Jeremiah Anderson; John Copeland; Albert
Hazlett; Osborn Anderson; Francis Jackson Meriam; Aaron
Stevens; Dangerfield Newby; John Kagi — and their leader, 59-
year-old Captain John Brown.
Saturday at midnight we were sitting in the darkness of the
Engine House at Harpers Ferry, together, yet alone in our thoughts
about the meaning of what we had experienced. Sunday, around a
table in the old train station in Purcellville, we had a chance to
Thoreau Society Bulletin, Number 247, Spring 2004
share those thoughts with each other. Had we changed our minds
and attitudes? Did we emerge with more questions than answers?
Henry Thoreau weighed in, too, rest assured, through our
discussion of "A Plea for Captain John Brown."
And finally, late Sunday afternoon, sitting in the church built
by freed slaves in Waterford, Virginia, listening to the lovely
young president of the History Club talk about the importance of
having passion for what you believe in and for what you do in life,
past and present came together for each of us in a strange, but
fitting synthesis of this unusual and stirring weekend.
A postscript by Bob Clarke of Woodbury, Connecticut:
Here we are on a late winter night — this band of
some twenty-plus middle-aged-and-over individuals,
marching in pairs along the Chesapeake and Ohio canal
tow path towards Harpers Ferry. We were not so much
re-enacting John Brown's quixotic quest to induce the
slaves of the area to revolt as much as we were
experiencing it and getting a feeling of the life of the
slaves, and that of Brown and his band of brothers — those
who had followed him from the border wars of the
Kansas-Missouri area and those who were late to the call
but sincerely believed enough in the abolitionist cause to
offer their lives and their services in its behalf.
Members of the Society are here in response to
Thoreau's "Plea for Captain John Brown." Thoreau
ardently believed in Brown's commitment to the cause, as
we might say in the current vernacular — he's not just
talking the talk but walking the walk. Here I am one of
Thoreau's band of disciples, and a seventy-year-old
Connecticut Yankee and former English teacher, living
not twenty miles from Brown's birthplace, taking on the
role of twenty-year-old Willie Leeman, the youngest of
the raiders, born in southern Maine, gone to Kansas in
search of a better life, and returning east after fighting
under Brown's tutelage — only to be killed in a vain
attempt to escape from Harpers Ferry and to suffer the
further ignominy of becoming a target of drunken
Virginians as his body lay on the shore of one of the river
islands. Before this night is over I have
come to understand what compelled not only
Willie but the others essentially to throw
away their lives, not realizing that in about
eighteen months their failure this night
would become legendary in the person of
their leader, whose name would march into
the history of our Civil War.
And leading us on this expedition into
the past is another little band of brothers and
sisters — the officers of the two-hundred-plus
Loudoun Valley High School History
Club — directed by its Pied Piper faculty
advisor, and brother of our Society's
Executive Director, Rich Gillespie. All in all
it's been a fantastic journey and a fantastic
learning experience, not only in terms of this
trip into the past, but also in terms of what
an effect an exceptional school program can
have beyond its time and place.
John Caffrey: A Brief Profile
Bradley P. Dean
During the month of August 2004, the Literary and.
Philosophical Society of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England,
will host a display featuring a two-page overview of
Thoreau, books and other materials by and about Thoreau, some
information about early English publishers and editors of
Thoreau's writings, and five stunningly beautiful gouache
paintings of birds mentioned in Thoreau's journal with appropriate
passages from the
journal. (Gouache is a
"method of painting with
mixed with a preparation
of gum." The five
paintings on display,
gouache, also contain
passages of pure
watercolor.) The artist,
John Caffrey, who will
put the display together
and arranged for it to
appear in the Literary and
selected these five birds
as his subjects because he
had seen them during
visits to wild areas during his trips to the United States. We" are
grateful to Caffrey for allowing us to publish here images of two
of those five paintings: a wood thrush (top) and a downy
Thoreau writes in "Walking" that with regard to nature, he felt
that he lived "a sort of border life, on the confines of a world into
which I make occasional and transient forays only, and my
Thoreau Society Bulletin, Number 247, Spring 2004
allegiance to the
state into whose
territories I seem to
retreat are those of
The border area
in the seventeenth
century happens to
be the very area
resides. He lives in
Morpeth, a historic ^
fifteen miles north
of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and just south of England's border with
Scotland. Caffrey first read Thoreau's A Week on the Concord and
Merrimack Rivers in the 1 960s and soon afterwards acquired a
copy of the Everyman Edition of Walden, which for many years he
carried with him daily to his work as a telephone engineer so that
he could read from the book
during his lunch breaks "in
some of the most beautiful and
Caffrey first visited
Concord in 1994. Although he
spent only part of a day there
at that time, he visited Walden
Pond and Thoreau's gravesite
and the Thoreau Lyceum — and
recalls the day as one "sprinkled with Stardust." He joined the
Thoreau Society in February 1 996 and since then has attended
three Annual Gatherings.
Notes & Queries
■*" We are grateful to the authors who contributed articles for
this number of the Bulletin. Sandy Petrulionis is the editor of
Thoreau's Journal; Volume 8, 1854; teaches English at Penn State
Altoona; and serves on the Board of Directors of the Thoreau
Society. W. Barksdale Maynard is the author of Walden Pond: A
History and Architecture in the United States, 1800-1850, and
teaches architectural history at Johns Hopkins University and the
University of Delaware. Ronald Wesley Hoag teaches English at
East Carolina University and serves on the Board of Directors of
the Thoreau Society. Jayne Gordon is Executive Director of the
Thoreau Society and lives in Concord, Massachusetts. Bernard
A. Drew lives in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, and is a
freelance writer and editor who alternates writing scholarly
reference books and local histories of Berkshire County. Bradley
P. Dean edits this Bulletin. James Dawson owns and operates
Unicorn Books in Trappe, Maryland.
*" Poet Mary Oliver in Blue Pastures (Harcourt, 1995) says,
"From my way of thinking, Thoreau frequently seems an overly
"»" In Walden 's second chapter, Thoreau wrote, "To affect the
quality of the day, that is the highest of arts." Your editor recently
finished a mediocre dinner at a Chinese restaurant by reading this
from the slip in the obligatory fortune cookie: "To effect [sic] the
quality of the day is no small achievement."
®° Austin Meredith learned that in 1953, on South Island of
New Zealand, the Homer Tunnel opened up Milford Sound to road
access from Te Anau. This is the longest raw tunnel in the world.
A plaque beside a short trail just beyond the tunnel, near Milford
Sound, reportedly reads: "The best sculptors in stone are not
copper and steel tools, but air and water, working at a leisurely
pace, with liberal amounts of time." The remark from A Week is
apt for the locale, according to Janak Neill, with whom Meredith
has corresponded on the matter. Neill contacted John Hall-Jones
of Invercargill, who has written three or four books about Milford
Sound and who reported that there is indeed such a plaque "at the
'Chasm' about five kilometers back up the Milford Road from
Milford with the quote from Thoreau." The plaque was erected by
the Department of Conservation and records Thoreau's name as
"David Henry Thoreau."
®° Edward Dolnick's Down the Great Unknown: John Wesley
Powell's 1869 Journey of Discovery and Tragedy through the
Grand Canyon (HarperCollins, 2001) quotes Thoreau in a section
about the Grand Canyon's geo-history, rock carved by river:
" 'The finest workers in stone are not copper or steel tools,' wrote
Thoreau, 'but the gentle touches of air and water working at their
leisure with a liberal allowance of time.' "
"" Ed Schofield pointed out to us an article in The Christian
Science Monitor of 2 January 2004 that described Democratic
presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich as follows (we remove
paragraph breaks): "Like his nonconformist audience this evening,
Mr. Kucinich is a candidate with quirks. A strict vegan, he would
hardly be the type to throw a Crawford, Texas, barbecue. A skilled
ventriloquist, he keeps a dummy in his office to entertain school
kids who visit him on field trips. . . . And though he comes from the
Rust Belt shores of Lake Erie, he often speaks more as a New
England transcendentalist, straight from Walden Pond. 'We need
to be certain that we have agricultural policies that are rooted in a
philosophy which connects us to the power of nature itself
Kucinich tells the bundled-up country folk gathered in the shed....
In the same 19th-century vein, Kucinich often urges his audiences
to read Emerson's 'Self-Reliance,' an essay he says he's read at
least once a year since he was a boy. 'Trust thyself: every heart
vibrates to that iron string,' he often quotes. 'To believe that what
is true for you in your private heart is true for all men. — that is
genius.' Nonconformists, however, are by definition few and far
between, and Kucinich is near the bottom of the polls. Beyond
this band of pastoral farmers, few have even heard of Dennis
Kucinich — 'Is he the one with the ears?' "
CF ", A contestant on the television quiz show Jeopardy, during
the broadcast of 8 January 2004, was asked to answer the question:
"While living at Walden Pond, Thoreau was jailed by Sam Staples
for not paying his taxes in this town."
rif " In Sidney Lens's The Forging of American Empire (Cover
subtitle: "From the Revolution to Vietnam: A History of U.S.
Imperialism"), first published in 1971 by Thomas Y. Crowell, but
recently co-published by Pluto Press and Haymarket Books of
Chicago, with a new foreword by Howard Zinn, we read. "fTJhere
has always been, in the annals of America, some sentiment
Thoreau Society Bulletin, Number 247, Spring 2004
opposed not only to militarism but to war per se. If many were
hostile to standing armies nonetheless endorsed specific wars,
there were others who took issue with both. They ranged all the
way from philosophical pacifists like Noah Worcester, Henry
David Thoreau, and A. J. Muste, to nonpacifists who were critical
of the particular war at hand...." When discussing the events of
1812, Lens also claims, "A small town in Massachusetts,
anticipating Thoreau's thesis on nonpayment of taxes, vowed not
to remit any monies to the national treasury." Regrettably,
however, he does not document his source.
■»" Martin Murie's column in the December 2003/January
2004 issue of Canyon Countiy Gazette, "Losing Solitude," is an
essay about the "insistent voice-over" variety of guided nature
walks, but he gives a couple of examples of happier outdoor
experiences. Murie writes, "Does it take something unexpected to
give us a nudge into paying attention to what's really happening,
precisely where we stand or walk? I think so. It's all very well to
tell each other to hang loose, look around, let what comes come,
but the human will is a mysterious inhabitant. It needs training or
a nudge. Even Thoreau admits that there are times when he goes
outdoors to get free of indoors but his indoors thoughts go with
him. My bet is that a bird or a rainstorm or a sudden blaze of
blossom, things like that, provided the nudge, got Henry back to
'now where my body is.' Walking, 1862." .
:g= Jules Lobel's Success Without Victory: Lost Legal Battles
and the Long Road to Justice in America (New York UP, 2003)
contains an introduction that examines "the prevailing view" that
law is utilitarian and looks at different traditions that critique "the
mainstream view of success in law and life." Lobel writes, "One
view, perhaps best expressed in our country by Ralph Waldo
Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, replaces 'success' with
expressive individualism, a kind of self-reliance that doesn't
depend on the rewards of the outside world. In this view work is a
calling, an expression of oneself, and a way to cultivate moral
sensibilities, not merely a utilitarian activity that leads to winning.
'[We should] measure a person not primarily on the virtue of his
actions,' writes Thoreau, 'but by the free character he is and is felt
to be under all circumstances.' Their focus on the inner,
expressive self led Emerson and Thoreau to view success and
failure not as dichotomies but as existing in dialectic tension and
unity...." Oddly, Lobel's source is cited as Martha Banta's Failure
and Success in America: A Literary Debate (Princeton UP, 1978).
:g ° The Fall 2003 issue of Seed magazine includes a series of
short articles under the rubric "The Third Culture" about people
bridging the gap between science and the humanities. From Laura
McNeil's piece about fiction writer Anthony Doerr ("The New
Naturalist"): "Noting Emerson and Thoreau as important early
examples of how to apply language to the natural world, while
also making his stories emotionally successful, Doerr, 30, strives
to make his settings 'as much a country of the imagination as a
real place.' " (McNeil earlier quoted Doeer: "I don't really believe
there's any use differentiating the natural world and the human
one, since they're so obviously the same.")
( anada-based Alternative Journal ran a one-page list of
suggestions for activists in its Fall 2003 issue, Tooker Gomberg's
"Jump Into the Fire." The list often items includes: (3) "Fill the
jails. Thoreau went to jail in 1 X46 for refusing to pay taxes to fund
the immoral Mexican-American War..." and (4) "Disobey immoral
A profile of Buddhist conservation biologist Michael Soule
by Lisa Jones ("The Buckshot Bodhisattva," Tricycle, Winter
2003) quotes Soule: "Most people feel they live in a world of
scarcity. They feel if they are too generous, they won't have
enough for themselves; that happiness is the reward of self-
indulgence. And yet people who have thought deeply about it and
have experimented with simplicity — as the Buddha did, and as
Thoreau did — find that it's the opposite: Happiness comes from
generosity and living simply."
®° The Gallery of History recently offered an "address leaf
(envelope?) penned by Thoreau to "Ticknor & Fields" (lp, 4!/2 x
4!/2) on 1 1 August 1854, two days after Walden was published.
The price was US$1,999.00. A one-page ^^^^^^^^^^^^
letter to James T. Fields was originally
"attached to it" and reads, "I shall feel
still more under obligations to you if you
will send the accompanying volume to
Mr. Sumner in one of your parcels. I
find that I omitted to count the volume
sent to Greeley & so have one more than
my due. Will you please charge me with
it." Massachusetts Senator Charles
Sumner was a good friend of Thoreau's who periodically sent him
copies of government publications gratis. Founder and editor of
the New-York Tribune, Horace Greeley was a friend who had
occasionally acted as Thoreau's literary agent. "Thoreau" is
penned above the addressee — apparently by Thoreau himself.
«" Jim Dawson generously sent us the following from
American Book Prices Current vol. 109 (auction season
September 2002-August 2003).
Cape Cod. Bost., 1865 '. 1st Ed. 12mo, orig cloth;
spine ends worn. Stain in upper outer corner of a few
leaves; without pbr's cstatend. sg Apr 10 (184) $550.
The Maine Woods. Bost., 1864. 8vo, ong cloth, wa May 22
Three Essays. Life Without Principle. Stanford: James Ladd
Delkin, 1946. One of 500. Preface by Henry Miller.
Orig half cloth, in darkened & worn dj. pba Jan 9 (44)
Walden. Bost., 1854. 1 st Ed. 8vo, orig cloth; repaired. With
map & ads dated Mar 1854. b&b June 25 (3353) $3,000.
[Walden. Bost., 1854. 1st Ed. 8vo,] Orig cloth; extremities
worn, rubbed, 1 gathering partly sprung. With map &
with ads dated Sept 1854. CNY Apr 8 (223) $5,000.
[Walden. Bost., 1854. 1st Ed. 8vo,] Orig cloth; inner front
hinge reinforced, text block cracked, a few gatherings
sprung, some wear to extremities. With map & with ads
dated Apr 1 854. CNY Apr 8 (224) $4,200.
[Walden. Bost., 1854. 1st Ed. 8vo,] Orig cloth; small stain on
upper cover, a few signatures sprung. With ads dated Sept
1854. July 29 (241) $7,000.
[Walden. Bost., 1854. 1st Ed. 8vo,] Modern mor, orig cloth
bound in; joints rubbed. With map & ads dated June
1854. Minor foxing; a few small stains. P June 20 (233)
[Walden. Bost., 1854. 1st Ed. 8vo,] Orig cloth; spine ends &
tips rubbed with loss, rear joint starting, split to center of
text block, foxing to rear endpapers & to front matter.
With ads dated Apr 1854. sg Oct 24 (501) $2,200.
Works. Bost., 1906. Manuscript Ed, one of 600, this copy
with onlaid half-page section of an ALs to H. Blake, 29
Thoreau Society Bulletin, Number 247, Spring 2004
June 1858. 20 vols. Orig mor gilt. P June 20 (234)
A Yankee in Canada.... Bost., 1866. 1st Ed. 8vo, orig cloth, A
bdg; spine ends & tips frayed, front hinge cracked, sg
Oct 24 (500) $140.
Thoreau's copy, Henry David. Whitman, Walt. Leaves of
Grass. Brooklyn, 1855. 1st Ed, 1st Issue. Folio, orig
cloth; recased with new endpapers & orig front endpaper
tipped in. Thoreau's sgd copy with his signature in pencil
on the orig front free endpaper. Sanborn — Wakeman —
R. W. Martin copy. P Dec 13 (164) $100,000.
ALs, 6 Oct 1838. 2pp, 4to. To Reverend Andrew Bigelow.
Applying for a teaching position including R. W.
Emerson as a reference. With holograph integral address
leaf. Very fine. In mor folding case, lllus in cat.
Lackritz Collection CNY Apr 8 (226) $11 ,000.
ALs, 8 Feb 1850. 1 p, 4to. To Mr. C. Northend. Accepting
his invitation to give a lecture. With tape stains at
corners. Illus in cat sg Apr 3 (193) $6,000.
The Thoreau Society is grateful to
Penn State Altoona
for its continuing generosity in hosting
our membership office. Special thanks
and congratulations to
Penn State Altoona student
who designed our web site, produced
our membership directory, and
graduates this spring!
ALs, 3 Apr 1850. 4pp, 9.5 by 7.5 inches. To H. G. O. Blake.
About appearance versus reality, spirituality & other
philosophical matters. Second sheet with repaired tear &
minor fold splits. Yellowed. Framed under plexiglass
with 2 photo ports. Overall size 15.75 by 29 inches. Illus
in cat P June 20 (235) $42,500.
c ^ Scott Silver's "Ed Abbey Was Wrong" (Canyon Country
Zephyr, February/March 2004), the transcription of a short address
presented at a conference of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies,
argues against Edward Abbey's words from The Journey Home:
"The idea of wilderness needs no defense. It only needs more
defenders." Quoting "father of the Wilderness Act, Howard
Zahniser" (who said in 1956, "We must see that an adequate
system of wilderness areas is designed for preservation, and then
we must allow nothing to alter the wilderness character of the
preserves"), Silver adds, "Failing either, we will face the serious
consequence implicit in Thoreau's aphorism, "In Wildness is the
preservation of the world."
■*■ The second epigraph to the chapter devoted to "animals
and birds" (sic) in Nina A. Simonowicz's Nina's North Shore
Guide (U Minnesota P, 1999): "awkward looking animals, with
long legs and short bodies, making a ludicrous figure when in full
run, but making great headway nevertheless. — Henry David
Thoreau, Ktaadn, referring to moose."
**" From John Pukite's Hiking Minnesota (Falcon Publishing,
1998): Three paragraphs on clothing (p. 8) begin "Thoreau once
said, 'Beware of enterprises requiring new clothing.' '
"»" Eric Sloane's The Spirits of '76 (Ballantine Books, 1973)
quotes Thoreau in his chapter on frugality (" 'Money,' said
Thoreau, 'is not necessary to buy one's necessities [sic] of the
soul") and in a chapter on the spirit of hard work ("Thoreau said
the prime aim of a laborer should not be to make his living but to
perform his work well. 'Do not hire a man who does your work
for money,' he said, 'but him who does it for love of it.' ")
■*" Dick Schneider noticed one morning recently while driving
"one of the most bizarre versions of a Thoreau bumper sticker that
I have seen in a long time. The sticker on the car in front of me
said T march to a different accordion.' Maybe a member of a
polka band? Go figure."
*■ Authors and prospective authors of books relating to
Thoreau, please take note. Contact the Thoreau Society Shop at
Walden Pond so that it can advance order copies of your book.
Also, please consider adding a "Note to the Reader" about the
Thoreau Society on one of the otherwise blank pages at the end of
your book. Jayne Gordon would be pleased to provide copy for
such a note. See gray textbox on p. 16 for contact information.
*" The television show Good Morning America (14
November 2003) reported on Stephanie Haaser, a Baltimore high
school student suspended for kissing another girl (mentioned in
last Bulletin's N&Q). Her English teacher had assigned her "to do
some sort of act of nonconformity," like Thoreau. Haaser stood
atop a cafeteria table, shouted "End Homophobia!" and kissed her
friend, Catherine. "To me it sounded like a super idea," her
mother told TV show host Charlie Gibson, who referred to it as
"an act of civil disobedience or nonconformity."
^ John Daniel (b. 1948), a poet in Oregon, has published a
new book, Winter Creek: One Writer's Natural History
(Minneapolis: Milkweed, 2002). On p. 64 he cites Thoreau as an
influence on his personal essays of the early 1980s. In 2000
Daniel spent four-and-a-half months living alone in a cabin on
Rogue River, Oregon, writing 294 penciled manuscript pages for a
forthcoming volume, tentatively titled River of Solitude.
■*" Thoreau turns up in a new book on the Western artist
Remington, one that discusses his nocturnes. William C. Sharpe.
professor of English at Barnard College, mentions Thoreau's
walks by moonlight: his "exploration of the night leads in
directions both aesthetic and imperial. His desire to conquer
darkness in the name of poetry forms part of the larger nineteenth-
century effort to colonize unknown territory." Sharpe 's essay
appears in Nancy K. Anderson el al., Frederic Remington: The
Color of Night (Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 2003).
tr Nicholas A. Bisbanes's A Splendor of Letters: The
Permanence of Books in an Impermanent World (Harper, 2003)
includes material about the author's own rare-book buying
experiences. One pages 180-181 is an anecdote about poking
through old art-auction catalogs at a Worcester Art Museum tag
sale, where his wife found a box "marked $5 for the contents" in
which was "a bundle of old magazines tied together by twine."
She "promptly plucked from what very well might have been part
Thoreau Society Bulletin, Number 247, Spring 2004
of that evening's trash deposit a dozen issues of Dial, an important
nineteenth-century literary quarterly of considerable scarcity that
boasts numerous first appearance essays of Emerson, Henry David
Thoreau, and Margaret Fuller, the founding editor." In the
October 1 840 issue Basbanes found an Emerson article
("Thoughts on Modern Literature") that
seemed "eerily pertinent" to Basbanes's
topic of research, the durability of books,
"textual and otherwise."
"" Visit http://oasis.harvard.edu/html/
hual5002frames.html to see facsimile
pages of the Harvard University Class of
1837 class book. A newspaper clipping in
the class book announcing Thoreau's
death mentions "His age was about 35" —
apparently a misprint for "45," but in any
case an error.
cg= A two-page typed and written
letter dated 1893 from Franklin B.
Sanborn to his son was sold on 19
February 2004 for US$154.28. The seller
described it as a chatty letter discussing
Concord and "the small circle of Concord
authors," the "last of the Alcott girls[']
death," and mentioning "that only Mr.
Channing remains and lives with
®° The past quarter's e-Bay offerings
relating (sometimes very tenuously) to
Thoreau included the following: Kenneth
Cole NEW Thoreau brown suede boot,
size 9 US, sold on 13 March 2004 and was bidding at US$15.50
the day before. NIB Kohler Self-Rimming 24" x 18" Skylight
Thoreau Sink opened for bidding at US$99 in mid-March 2004.
Gordon Press's 1976 reprint of the Bibliophile Society edition of
Thoreau's Sir Walter Raleigh, edited by Henry Aiken Metcalf,
opened for bidding at US$9.95 on 5 March 2004 but had received
no bids by the end date of 12 March. An 1876 Waiden with worn
spine ends sold for US$99. An 1875 Maine Woods with the spine
taped and in poor condition sold for US$43. An 1865 Cape Cod
(first edition) with a stained cover sold for US$187.77. An
uncommon 1949 reprint of the fourteen-volume 1906 Journal sold
for US$266.01. A 1907 Bibliophile Society Unpublished Letters
of Bryant and Thoreau, one of 470 copies, sold for US$60.
Samuel A. Jones's Thoreau, A Glimpse (Concord, Mass.: Erudite
Press, 1903) sold for US$92.57. Thoreau's Essays and Other
Writings, edited by Dircks (London: Walter Scott Ltd., n.d. [ca.
1901]), sold for US$24.46. Twelve different issues, with some
duplicates, of the Thoreau Newsletter, written and edited by
Raymond Adams from 1936 to 1940, sold for $129.07. Also
included were three magazines from the same period with articles,
by Adams on Thoreau and Southern religious liberalism. (The
seller told Jim Dawson that he found these items — the whole cache
totaling seven pounds of paper — in a North Carolina dumpster!)
Finally, and most ridiculously, a "Miniture [sic] Dollhouse Cabin
Custom Thoreau Style" opened for bidding at US$19.95 on 22
April 2004. As of 23 March one person had bid on it at that price.
"This is a handmade Henry Thoreau Like miniture [sic] house
built by hand. It has a front porch and shows excellent detail on
the exterior. Everything was handmade. Nothing was pre-bought.
This is Piper Brunhuber, daughter of Barb,
Staff Assistant at the Society's Membership
Office at Penn State Altoona, modeling the
most popular infant gift at the Thoreau
Society's Shop at Waiden Pond.
Bricks have real texture and were hand painted one by one.
Asphault [sic] shingles, block foundation, balsa wood deck. Door
is hinged. The interior was done to show the method by which the
interior was designed [sic]. Overall size is 12 inches deep, 1 1
inches high, and 8 inches wide. This would be excellent for
displaying or used as a child's playhouse
*" From an obituary for author Paul
Gruchow in the 25 February 2004 issue of
the Minneapolis Star Tribune: "Friend and
writer Bill Holm, of Minneota, Minn.,
praised Gruchow as 'the Thoreauavian
conscience of his generation.' "
f "Emma Goldman," a 90-minute
documentary written, produced, and
directed by Mel Bucklin, and scheduled to
air on PBS Monday, 12 April 2002, as part
of the "American Experience" series,
reports that when Goldman was first
imprisoned, she "[used] her time to
educate herself, reading Emerson,
Thoreau, and Whitman."
» On 9 April 2004 Villanova
University professor of art history Mark
Sullivan delivered a paper titled " 'Man of
a Thousand Faces': Henry David Thoreau
in Recent American Portraiture" at the
American Culture Association's annual
conference in San Antonio. Last year, he
delivered a paper at the same group's
annual meeting in New Orleans on N. C.
Wyeth and his portraits of Henry David Thoreau.
■*" Does anyone know the original source of the canard of
which the following is one version: "When Thoreau was placed in
prison for refusing to pay taxes, he was visited by Ralph Waldo
Emerson and Emerson said, 'David, what are you doing in jail?'
and Thoreau replied, 'Ralph, what are you doing outside, when
honest people are in jail for their ideals?' " Please reply to Chris
<*" Thoreau, in his journal entry of 16 January 1852, writes a
long paragraph on Bill Wheeler, a local ne'er-do-well who had
recently died; and Emerson, in a journal of December 1841, wrote
about "the keeping of a secret too great to be confided to one
man[ — ]that a divine man dwelt near me in a hollow tree." Tim
French (firstname.lastname@example.org) is looking into the possibility that
Bill Wheeler may at one time have lived in a hollow tree and
would like to hear from anyone who may have any thoughts on the
®° Akira Yamaguchi's Japanese translation of Walter
Harding's The Days of Henry Thoreau will soon see print.
Yamaguchi plans to translate A Week, which would be the first
Japanese translation of that book.
^ The February 2004 issue of Ladies Home Journal (p. 1 10)
features an interview with television personality and reporter
Diane Sawyer. In high school she was a nerd, she says, and
"Three of us, we were Unitarian, Jewish, and Methodist — me —
and we used to get together and read Thoreau and Emerson, and
we'd sit by this squalid creek every day at lunch and imagine
ourselves as philosophers — we called ourselves the new
Thoreau Society Bulletin, Number 247, Spring 2004
*" "If you want inner peace find it in solitude, not speed, and
if you would find yourself, look to the land from which you came
and to which you go." This quotation has repeatedly been
ascribed to Thoreau, particularly on the Web, but is acmally by
former U.S. Congressman Stewart Udall.
«" John Buell's Closing the Book on Homework (Temple UP,
2004) ends with these paragraphs:
My hope is that education might nurture democratic
citizenship. The democratic citizen must cooperate with
others in crafting the common standards and social
supports on which all civilized life depends. But
democracy also entails a commitment to individuality, to
resistance even to widely shared norms whose cost in the
loss of free space is greater than any social benefits. It
entails a willingness to constantly tweak and explore this
Thoreau was such a citizen, and his experience is
instructive. We owe Thoreau's great classics not only to
the hours he devoted to acquiring a classical education
but also to his willingness to spend — indeed to demand —
time and space for totally unstructured wanderings
through and contemplation of the minutiae of nature. It
may not be accidental that a citizen who had experienced
the constantly renegotiated moments of freedom in his
own life was willing to engage in civil disobedience, the
ultimate in democratic political practice, to secure these
values for others.
■»■ A recent re-run of an episode from the old television show
The Waltons titled "The House," which originally aired 19
February 1 976, has the character John-Boy quoting from "Civil
Disobedience": "If I have unjustly wrested a plank from a
drowning man, I must restore it to him though I drown myself."
"3° The e-zine Concord Magazine (http://www.concordma.
com) is back after a six-month sabbatical and in the current
(Spring 2004) issue features, among other pieces, "George
Bradford Bartlett" by Leslie Perrin Wilson ("This 19th century
unofficial host of Concord, young people's author, and theatrical
producer is little-known today"), "How Did Concord Get its
Name?" by Paul Drexler ("We know how Concord made its name
in our country's history, but where does the name itself come
from?"), "Hawthorne's 'Vegetable Progeny' at the Old Manse" by
Laurie Butters ("Given as a wedding present and planted by Henry
Thoreau, this vegetable garden became a great preoccupation"),
"Thoreau is Still at Walden" by Corinne H. Smith (on Richard
Smith's "living history" portrayals of Thoreau), and "Walden
Pond: A History" by Richard Smith (appreciative review of W.
Barksdale Maynard's recent book).
^ Les Forets du Maine, Francois Specq's French translation
of The Maine Woods, was published very recently and will be fully
cited in the next Bulletin. Specq informs us, "Besides a fully
annotated translation of the entire text of The Maine Woods, this
volume features a long commentary on this work of Thoreau's and
his contribution to the nature conservation movement, entitled
'Habiter la frontiere: L'humanisme sauvage d' Henry D. Thoreau'
["Living a Border Life: Henry D. Thoreau's Wild Humanism"]
®° From Christopher Orlet's "The Gymnasiums of the Mind,"
an article about the connection between philosophy and walking,
in the January/February 2004 issue of the British magazine
Philosophy Now. "In his brief life Henry David Thoreau walked an
estimated 250,000 miles, or ten times the circumference of the
earth. T think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits,' wrote
Thoreau, 'unless I spend four hours a day at least — and it is
commonly more than that — sauntering through the woods and
over the hills and fields absolutely free from worldly
engagements.' Thoreau's landlord and mentor Ralph Waldo
Emerson characterized walking as 'gymnastics for the mind.' '
Chris Dodge wondered what Orlet's source for "250,000 miles"
might have been and did some math. "Thoreau lived two months
and six days short of 45 years," Dodge writes. "Without
accounting for leap years, I figure he lived close to 365 days x 45,
minus 67 — 16,358 days give or take a few — probably about 1 1
more than that. Let's say 16,369 days. To have walked 250,000
miles would mean that he averaged over 15 l A miles of walking a
day from the time he left the womb." Orlet again: " 'When we
walk, we naturally go to the field and the woods,' said Thoreau.
'What would become of us, if we only walked in a garden or a
mall?' I supposed I am what becomes of us, Henry."
®° Thoreau- in- Vermont is "a co-ed, inter-racial summer
camp" that is "located on a lovely wooded, 380 acre site, on the
shore of a 64 acre lake in Thetford Center, Vermont" (http://
*" Jonah Raskin's American Scream: Allen Ginsberg's
"Howl" and the Making of the Beat Generation (U California P,
2004) states that Ginsberg saw "Kerouac as the successor to
Melville and himself as the successor to Whitman. Later he would
see Gary Snyder as the successor to Henry David Thoreau."
2004 Annual Gathering
Walden: Of Its Time, For Our Time,
A Sesquicentennial Celebration
8-1 1 July 2004
Program details, registration materials, and so on
accompanied this Bulletin.
The Annual Gathering Committee needs volunteers to assist
with the Gathering. They'll need help with registration,
setting up meeting rooms, hospitality, and a variety of other
tasks. If you can volunteer some time, please contact Jayne
Gordon at (978) 369-53 19 or email
Additions to the Thoreau
Robert N. Hudspeth
Bartlett, Brian. " 'The Land Tugging at the Sea': Elizabeth
Bishop's Coasts and Shores." In Divisions of the Heart:
Elizabeth Bishop and the Art of Memory and Place. Ed.
Sandra Barry et al. Wolfville, Nova Scotia: Gaspereau, 2001.
Pp. 91-1Q2. Traces the parallels between Bishop's "The Lnd
of March" and Thoreau's ( 'ape Cod.
Thoreau Society Bulletin, Number 247, Spring 2004
Brooker, Ira. "Giving the Game Away: Thoreau's Intellectual
Imperialism and the Marketing of Walden Pond." Midwestern
Quarterly 45, No. 2 (Winter 2004): 137-154.
Burdeau, Cain. "Walden Pond Peaceful Still in Times of Quiet
Desperation." Philadelphia Inquirer, 13 July 2003.
. "A Walk in the Woods: You Can Follow the Footsteps of
Thoreau on Visit to Walden Pond." Attleboro [Mass.] Sun
Chronicle, 5-6 July 2003.
Carey, Art. "A Thoreau Back-to-Nature Design." Philadelphia
Inquirer, 1 November 2002. On building a modern version of
the famous house.
Centini, Massimo. "II maestro: H. D. Thoreau." In La Wilderness.
La nalura selvaggia e I'uoino. Milan: Xenia Edizioni, 2003.
Please submit items for the Summer
Bulletin to your editor before
15 July 2004
Dault, Julia. "Doing Business with Nature." National Post
[Canada], 18 March 2004. On the photographer Thaddeus
Holownia, who photographed Walden Pond and its
Davis, Millard C. "Dragonfly Days at Trailwood: Remembering
Edwin W. and Nellie Teale." Concord Saunterer N.S. 1 1
Dean, Bradley P. "Thoreau Letter Discovered in Library Book."
Thoreau Society Bulletin No. 246 (Winter 2004): 1-3.
Discovery of a letter from Thoreau to Thaddeus Harris, 27
Gougeon, Len. "Emerson, Thoreau, and Antislavery." In A House
Divided: The Antebellum Slavery Debates in America, 1776-
1865. Ed. Mason I. Lowance, Jr. Princeton: Princeton
University Press, 2003. Pp. 203-15.
Hoagland, Edward. "About H. D. Thoreau." In Hoagland on
Nature: Essays. Guilford, Connecticut: Lyons Press, 2003.
Hodder, Alan D. Thoreau s Ecstatic Witness. Reviewed by
Wesley T. Mott in Religion and the Arts 6 (Fourth Quarter
Hudspeth, Robert N. "Dear Friend: Letter Writing in Concord."
Concord Saunterer n.s. 11 (2003): 77-91.
Hyde, Lewis. "Thoreau Solutions." Thoreau Society Bulletin No.
246 (Winter 2004): 3-5. Answers to a series of annotation
queries printed in Bulletin No. 240, pp. 3^4.
Maynard, W. Barksdale. Walden Pond: A History. Reviewed by
Edward J. Renehan, Jr. in January Magazine, March 2004
(on-line review). "Contemplates the 62 acre kettle-hole in all
its guises. Here we have Walden as literary Mecca,
environmental landmark and cause celebre. Here we also
have the pond as litter-strewn bathing beach, political
volleyball and object of parochial infighting." Reviewed by
Diana Muir in the Boston Globe, 14 March 2004 (with a
correction published on 18 March); by Susan Salter Reynolds
in the Los Angeles Times, 14 March 2004.
Merchant, Carolyn. "Shades of Darkness: Race and
Environmental History." Environmental History 8, No. 3
Moore, Gene. "Following Thoreau's Watery Trail Across Maine
Lakes." Attleboro [Mass.] Sun Chronicle, 17 November 2003.
Newman, Lance. " 'Patron of the World': Henry Thoreau as
Wordsworthian Poet." Concord Saunterer n.s. 1 1 (2004):
"Obituary: John J. McAleer." Thoreau Society Bulletin No. 246
(Winter 2004): 9.
Okerstrom, Dennis Raymond. "Wilderness, Ethics, and Violence:
An Ecocritical Study of the Works of Henry David Thoreau,
John Muir, Aldo Leopold, and Edward Abbey." Dissertation
Abstracts International 64, No. 3 (2003): 909-A.
Pipkin, John S. "Glances from the Shore: Thoreau and the
Material Landscape of Cape Cod." Journal of Cultural
Geography 20, No. 2 (2003): 1-19.
Robbins, Jim. "Town in Montana Wilderness Is Divided over
Drilling Plan." New York Times, 21 March 2004, p. 10. Local
activist invokes "civil disobedience" to stop natural gas
St. Antoine, Arthur. "Vroom at the Top." Motor Trend (2004):
104-1 10. An example of how consumer culture appropriates
Thoreau in the name of the most un-Thoreauvian activity.
Opens and closes with Thoreau quotations to frame a
celebration of egregious examples of piggish consumption.
Sioli, Marco. Ed. Metropoli e natura sulle frontiere americane.
Milan: Franco Angeli, 2003.
Southwick, Albert B. "Massachusetts Ice Was a Big Hit in India in
Mid- 1880s." Worcester [Mass.] Telegram and Gazette, 4
April 2004. Story of Frederick Tudor, Boston's "Ice King,"
whom Thoreau mentions in Walden.
Thoreau, Henry D. La disobbedienza civile [Civil Disobedience].
Ed. Giangiacomo Gerevini. Milan: La Vita Felice, 2002.
123p. In Italian with English text.
— . Resistenza al governo civile [Resistance to Civil
Government]. Ed. Alessandro Lagana. Naples: Generoso
Procaccini Editore, 1997. 70p. In Italian with English text.
— . Vita senza priticipi [Life without Principle]. Ed.
Giangiacomo Gerevini. Milan: La Vita Felice, 1996. 107p.
In Italian with English text.
Wetterich, Chris. "Guest Speaker Marks 150 Years of Thoreau's
Waldenr Charleston [W. Va.] Gazette, 22 March 2004.
Report of a lecture by Professor Jack Hussey.
Wilkinson, Anne. "Variations on a Theme." In Heresies: The
Complete Poems of Anne Wilkinson. Montreal: Vehicule,
2003. Pp. 144—146. Poem quotes and uses a sentence from
Thoreau: "A man needs only to be turned around once with
his eyes shut in this world to be lost."
Wilson, Leslie Perrin. "Untapped Thoreau Materials in the
Concord Free Public Library." Thoreau Society Bulletin No.
246 (Winter 2004): 5-7.
Witherell, Elizabeth Hall. "A Tribute to Wendell Glick." Thoreau
Society Bulletin No. 246 (Winter 2004): 8-9.
We are indebted to the following individuals for information sent
in for the Bulletin: Brian Bartlett, Ron Bosco, Clarence Burley,
Jim Dawson, Debra Kang Dean, Chris Dodge, Steve Ells, Tim
French, Jayne Gordon, Len Gougeon, Karen Kashian, John Kiser,
W. Barksdale Maynard, Austin Meredith, Glenn H. Mott, Wesley
T Mott, Stefano Paolucci, Edward J. Renehan, Jr., Mary
Thoreau Society Bulletin, Number 247, Spring 2004
Schneider, Richard Schneider, Ed Schofield, Mark Sullivan, Rick
L. Thompson, John A. Wickham, Richard Winslow III, and Beth
Witherell. Please keep your editor informed of items not yet added
and new items as they appear.
"Earth's Eye": Sesquicentennial Online Exhibition
With the able assistance of Webmaster Bob Hall, Concord
Free Public Library Special Collections Curator Leslie Wilson has
made available fifty images of or relating to Walden Pond. The
exhibition features an introductory essay by W. Barksdale
Maynard, author of Walden Pond: A History and a frequent
contributor of articles to this Bulletin, as well as three images each
by William Wheeler Anderson and his mother, the late Esther
Howe Wheeler Anderson. The remaining forty-four images
feature items in Special Collections, almost all of which are either
extremely rare or unique. Your editor was delighted, for instance,
by item 33. "Plan of Walden Pond State Reservation, 1922 Dec,"
which consists of six sections, each of which can be clicked to
view an enlargement. A canted rectangle in the left-center of the
upper-right section shows the area that was Thoreau's bean-field
(summer 1845). This exhibition is a must-see for Thoreauvians.
Beginning with Thoreau Society Bulletin 250
(Winter 2005) each "Announcements" and
"Calendar of Events" listing will contain the usual
headline but only a one-sentence description.
More detailed, comprehensive, and timely
descriptions of announcements and events are
now and will continue to be available on the
Thoreau Society Web site at http://
www.thoreausociety.org, and the Society is
considering an email distribution list for members
who may wish to receive email notifications of
Society-related announcements and events.
Calendar of Events
MAY 15 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
The Seasons of Walden: "Plants and Animals of Walden"
Bring a backpack with lunch and water, and join renowned
naturalist and Concord resident Peter Alden for a hike from
Walden Pond to Fairhaven Bay. Meet at the Tsongas Gallery
adjoining the Shop at Walden Pond. Co-sponsored by the Friends
of Walden Pond (an activity of the Thoreau Society), the
Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, and
Walden Pond State Reservation. For grades 3 and above. Fee $5
(also $5 parking fee for each vehicle). Pre-register at (978) 369-
MAY 21-SEPTEMBER 19
Visiting Thoreau's Walden
The Concord Museum's new exhibit explores the generations of
other visitors for whom Walden Pond has also been home,
workplace, playground, and sacred ground. The exhibit draws on
the Museum's unparalleled collection of Thoreau artifacts,
including the desk on which Thoreau wrote the first draft of
Walden, together with rarely seen images and incomparable works
by N. C. Wyeth and Edward Steichen, to gain a new perspective
on the variety of these Walden visitors — ice-cutters and wood-
choppers, poets and philosophers, children, picnickers,
environmentalists, artists, ordinary citizens from around the world,
and Thoreau himself. The Thoreau Society co-sponsors the
Summer Lecture Series associated with the exhibit.
MAY 22 3 p.m.
The Thoreau Society in Minneapolis
Jayne Gordon will speak at 3 p.m. on "Shots Heard 'Round the
World," and Ronald A. Bosco will speak at 4 p.m. on "From
Walden to the West: Thoreau's Spiritual and Savage Journeys,"
both engagements to take place at Campus Club, Coffman
Memorial Union, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis East Bank
Campus. Co-sponsored by the Minneapolis Athenaeum and the
University of Minnesota Department of English. For information
contact either Terry Dinovo of the Minneapolis Athenaeum at
(612) 209-3757 or Thoreau Society member Dale Schwie at (612)
MAY 23 2-4 p.m.
The Thoreau Society in Minneapolis
Ronald A. Bosco and Jayne Gordon will lead a discussion on
"Walden at 150" at Marshall Field's Performance Hall, The Open
Book, 1011 Washington Ave. South. Co-sponsored by the
Minnesota Independent Scholars' Forum, the Minneapolis
Atheneum, and Milkweed Editions. Call (612) 215-2650.
MAY 27 7:30 p.m.
Thoreau Community Lecture Series: Walden at 150
Kent Curtis, Director of Education, and Jeffrey Cramer, Curator of
Collections, Walden Woods Project, will speak on "Walden in
Context" at the Concord Museum. Sponsored by the Concord
Museum, the Thoreau Society, and the Walden Woods Project.
Free and open to the public. Donations accepted. A reception
follows the presentation.
JUNE 9 7 p.m.
Visiting Thoreau's Walden (Lecture 1 of 3)
Eminent historian and author of The Mystic Chords of Memory and
the newly-published A Time to Every Purpose: The Four Seasons
in American Culture, Michael Kammen, speaks at the Concord
Museum on "Henry David Thoreau and the Four Seasons in
American Culture." Fee $7.50 ($5 for Thoreau Society
members), reservations requested: (978) 369-9763. A reception
follows the lecture.
JUNE 15 7 p.m.
Visiting Thoreau's Walden (Lecture 2 of 3)
Clare Walker Leslie, co-author of Keeping a Nature Journal,
winner of the 2003 John Burroughs Award, speaks at the Concord
Museum on "Keeping a Nature Journal" and will lead audience
Thoreau Society Bulletin, Number 247, Spring 2004
members through simple techniques for starting and maintaining a
nature journal. Fee $7.50 ($5 for Thoreau Society members),
reservations requested: (978) 369-9763. A reception follows the
JUNE 19 9 a.m.-12 noon
The Seasons of Walden: "On This Spot"
Through stories and hands-on activities, Christen Lekorenos will
help participants investigate what has changed and what has not at
Thoreau's Cove, Ice Fort Cove, and other locations around Walden
Pond. Meet at the Tsongas Gallery adjoining the Shop at Walden
Pond. Co-sponsored by the Friends of Walden Pond (an activity
of the Thoreau Society), the Massachusetts Department of
Conservation and Recreation, and Walden Pond State Reservation.
For grades 3 and above. Fee $5 (also $5 parking fee for each
vehicle). Pre-register at (978) 369-5310.
feature Peter Gibian of McGill University on "The Parlor and Its
Discontents: Transcendentalist Talk Circles and a Thoreau-
Whitman Debate about Spoken Dialogue"; Sarah Wider of Colgate
University on "Henry's Last Paradox: Thoreau at Home with the
Emersons"; and Bradley P. Dean of West Peterborough, N.H., on
"Emerson, Thoreau, and the Reverend Daniel Foster." The second
session, chaired by Phyllis Cole of Pennsylvania State, Delaware
County, will feature Lance Newman of California State University,
San Marcos, on "Orestes Brownson's New Views"; Robert A.
Gross of the University of Connecticut on "Faith in the
Boardinghouse: New Views of Thoreau Family Religion"; Bruce
Ronda of Colorado State University on "Myths of Memory:
Elizabeth Peabody Visits, and Recollects, the Emersons"; and
Price McMurray of Texas Wesleyan University on " 'An Egyptian
Skull at Our Banquet': Hawthorne, Emerson,and the Idealist
JUNE 22 7 p.m.
Visiting Thoreau's Walden (Lecture 3 of 3)
Joy Ackerman of Antioch New England Graduate School lectures
at the Concord Museum on "The Place of Pilgrimage: Alternative
Geographies of Walden." Fee $7.50 ($5 for Thoreau Society
members), reservations requested: (978) 369-9763. A reception
follows the lecture.
Hawthorne at 200: A Commemorative Symposium
"Living Legacy: A Bicentennial Celebration of the Life and
Writings of Nathaniel Hawthorne" will be sponsored by Minute
Man National Historical Park and Partners and held at Trinitarian
Congregational Church, Concord, Mass. For registration
information visit http://www.nps.gov/mima/special.html.
JULY 8 6 a.m.
Dawn-to-Dusk Reading of Walden at Walden Pond
Reading of Walden by members and guests of the Thoreau Society.
Thoreau Society Annual Gathering
Theme: "Walden: Of Its Time, For Our Time." Concord, Mass.
See program insert mailed with this Bulletin.
JULY 12 10a.m.-4p.m.
Walden at Trail Wood
Celebration of Thoreau's 187 lh birthday and Walden 's 150" v
anniversary at the Edwin Way Teale Memorial Sanctuary at Trail
Wood, 93 Kenyon Road, Hampton, Connecticut. There will be
scheduled talks on Thoreau and Teale by Tom Potter, Bob Breau,
and other Thoreau Society members, tours of the writing cabin and
house study, and walks throughout Trail Wood lead by local
naturalists. Register through Connecticut Audubon Center: (860)
928-4948 or sheminwayfectaudubon.org.
Modern Language Association
Each December the Thoreau Society sponsors two sessions at the
Modern Language Association convention. Both Society sessions
this year will address the topic "The Emerson's Parlor and Mrs.
Thoreau's Dinner Table: Transcendental Conversations." The first
session, chaired by Sandy Petrulionis of Penn State Altoona, will
Copyright © 2004 The Thoreau Society, Inc.
The Thoreau Society Bulletin, published quarterly by the Thoreau Society, is
indexed in American Humanities Index and MLA International Bibliography.
Editor: Bradley P. Dean.
Editorial Advisory Committee: Dave Bonney, Ronald A. Bosco, James
Dawson, Jayne Gordon, Ronald Wesley Hoag, W. Barksdale Maynard, Wesley
T. Mott, Sandra Petrulionis, Richard Schneider, Edmund A. Schofield.
Board of Directors: Ronald A. Bosco, President: J. Walter Brain; Susie
Carlisle; David Ganoe; Ronald W. Hoag; Robert Hudspeth; John Mack,
Treasurer; Joel Myerson, Secretary; Sandra Petrulionis, Executive Secretary;
Tom Porter, Assistant Clerk; Richard Schneider; Laura Dassow Walls; Joseph
Wheeler; Barbara Wojtusik; Jennie Wollenweber.
Staff: Jayne Gordon, Executive Director; Karen Kashian, Business Manager;
Steven Bentley, Outreach Specialist; Jim Hayden, Shop Manager; Jon
Fadiman, Michael Frederick, and Doug Luther, Shop Associates.
Established in 1941, the Thoreau Society, Inc., is an international nonprofit
organization with a mission to honor Henry David Thoreau by stimulating
interest in and fostering education about his life, works, and philosophy and
his place in his world and ours; by coordinating research on his life and
writings; by acting as a repository for Thoreauviana and material relevant to
Henry David Thoreau; and by advocating for the preservation of Thoreau
Country. Membership in the Society includes subscriptions to its two
publications, the Thoreau Society Bulletin (published quarterly) and The
Concord Saunterer (published annually). Society members receive a ten-
percent discount on all merchandise purchased from the Thoreau Society Shop
at Walden Pond and advance notice about Society programs, including the
Membership: Thoreau Society, Penn State Altoona, 129 Community Arts
Center, Altoona, PA, 16601, U.S.A.; voice-mail: (978) 369-5359; e-mail:
Merchandise: (including books and mail-order items): Thoreau Society Shop
at Walden Pond. 915 Walden Street, Concord, MA 01742-4511, U.S.A.; tel:
(978) 287-5477; fax: (978) 287-5620; e-mail: email@example.com;
Concord Saunterer: Richard Schneider, Department of English and Modern
Languages. Wartburg College. 222 Ninth Street NW. Waverly, IA 50677,
U.S.A.; tel: (319) 352-8435; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thoreau Society Bulletin: Bradley P. Dean, P.O. Box 70, West Peterborough,
NH 03468-0070, U.S.A.; e-mail: TSB@bradleypdean.com.
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